If pressed to offer one key document that could be read to explain the 20th century, I think the Gaither report for the Ford Foundation would be the best bet.
Gaither was fairly influential and central to governance in the 1940-50s until his death from lung cancer in 1961. He was not only involved in the foundation of the Rand Corporation, but also president of the Ford Foundation and author of another report referred to as the Gaither report. The other report was Deterrence & Survival in the Nuclear Age which he produced as part of the President’s Science Advisory committee which was influential to say the least.
The Ford Foundation Gaither report was conducted after great consultation with government actors and academic experts and presents an outline of the intellectual and cultural state of affairs at the very top of the Cathedral at that time. It is also a justification document for the evangelical exporting of American liberalism using the wealth of Ford (greater that the UN’s budget by some distance at the time.) What comes through is a kind of weird state enforced anarcho-capitalism par excellence. Take the following excerpt from p47 as an example:
He [the citizen] must choose between two opposed course. One is democratic, dedicated to the freedom and dignity of the individual, as an end in himself. The other, the antithesis of democracy, is authoritarianism, wherein freedom and justice do not exist, and human rights and truth are wholly subordinated to the state.
The mental jusjitsu in which the “individual” of the liberal conception, which is created by the democratic state, is not de facto subordinated to the state cuts right to the core of the democratic experiment. De jouvenal has much to say on this.
Back to the anarcho-capitalist chops of the exert, the phrase “an end in himself” is about as anarcho-capitalist as it gets, which is a puzzle, until you realize that anarcho-capitalism is just basic liberalism with a hardcore delusional denial as to the source of the individual and the need of a powerful central actor to create individuals that operate on the anarcho-capitalist model. Is the individual posterior or anterior to society? The issue arises in this very same report and is clearly asserted as anterior by default on p46 with the pitch perfect repetition of the underlying mechanics of liberalism:
Democracy accepts the fact of conflicting interests and even encourages the positive expressions of divergent views, aims, and values. Democracy theory assumes, however, that conflicts can be resolved or accommodated by nonviolent means, and that discrimination and hostility between various groups on the basis of race, national origin, or religion can be kept below the point where basic well-being of society is threatened.
This is pure Locke, and pure Hobbes, with the implicit insistence that individuals are anterior to society and that their “views, aims, and values” are external expressions or internal developments. This is the grounding of anarcho-capitalism, and this is exactly what Alaisdair MacIntyre has been criticising so vehemently. This state of affairs is created by power.
When we get to “economic democracy” we can again see this state enforced anarcho-capitalism on display as the report states on p37:
economic democracy is realized through a fluid and mobile social structure which permits maximum individual freedom of choice and action. This requires practical equality of opportunity for all individuals to pursue the vocation of profession of their choice, to change jobs, to move from place to place, and to advance in their chosen career according to their capabilities.
Whereas the self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist has drunk deeply of the cool aid and convinced himself of the possibility of non-state enforced individualism anarchism, the progressive in the form of Gaither is under no illusion that this state of affairs must be enforced.
With this in mind, the funding received by libertarians from the likes of the Rockefeller Foundation is not at all confusing, neither is the tolerance for anarchist groups protesting outside of Davos meetings and all the other seeming leniency provided to those advocating full “anarchtopia now! Death to statism!” All groups share the exact same assumptions, which is best expressed by the reports comments on what it defines human welfare as:
Basic to human welfare is the idea of the dignity of man- the conviction that man must be regarded as an end in himself, not as a mere cog in the mechanisms of society. P17
There is that “end in himself” phrase again, and further:
The committee’s conception of human welfare is stated in chapter one, as will be seen, it is largely synonymous with a declaration of democratic ideals. p12
Want to know what would happen if anarcho-capitalism was enforced on the world? then wonder no more, you are living it.